The Halloween Candy Tax
Well it is that time of year again when the weather starts to cool down and kids start thinking
about dressing up in their favorite costumes and going trick or treating. But if you think about it,
how on earth did it become a tradition to dress up in weird costumes and go door to door
panhandling for candy? Halloween is now the second biggest ‘holiday’ in the U.S. measured by
dollars spent, just behind Christmas. For me Halloween is one of those days that I personally
never understood. Bless my mom, she totally tried to get me into Halloween as a kid but by the
third grade I told my mom that I was done. To my knowledge it was the first thing I ever quit in
my life, and I must admit there is no part of me that regrets it.
Now I have kids of my own and they of course are excited about Halloween and the candy they
will get. I have three kids and they couldn’t be more different. My son is 7 and he doesn’t get
super excited about anything. If you tell him that he is only allowed one piece of candy a day,
then he will only ask for one piece of candy a day. As a parent that is deeply concerned about
what his kids are eating, that is awesome.
Then, there are my two girls that are 5 and 3. They love to dress up and they LOVE to eat treats.
They would consume sugar at any given opportunity no matter what they are told. My three
year old has had some digestive issues that sprung up before the age of two and we finally
figured out that her body has a really hard time handling sugar. So we keep a very close eye on
what she is eating.
As a parent, Halloween can be tough because you want your kids to have fun and enjoy
themselves, but in our house, we don’t want the focus to be on just how much candy we can get.
As we walk around with the kids while they are Trick or Treating we focus on making sure they
thank our neighbors for the candy they give them, and with my seven year old, I make sure he is
looking out for kids who are younger than him. I think my wife and I have done a really good job
setting expectations with the kids on how much candy they can eat on Halloween. Our secret is
that we let them have a few (like 2-3) of the their favorite pieces of candy on Halloween, and
then tell them they can have a piece after dinner every night until they run out. We then put the
candy in the pantry, and it takes a couple of weeks and they will forget it is even there. So, the
kids win because they get to use their candy for a long period of time and therefore get to enjoy
the spoils of Halloween for much longer, and as parents we are making sure that our kids don’t
get overloaded with sugar. Plus when they forget about the candy, my wife and I can
start sneaking a few pieces for ourselves!